What can I say? If I like a restaurant, I go back. Many, many times. So it is with authors. And Barbara Metzger is like my favorite New Jersey diner; I know exactly what’s on the menu.
In A Perfect Gentleman, Ms. Metzger finds the winning recipe once again as she matches up a poor but well-meaning, services-to-let peer with a headstrong heiress in charge of the family business. Aubrey, Viscount Wellstone (“Stony” to his friends), is barely keeping it together, his father having gambled away the family fortune, leaving Stony several crumbling family homes, a spendthrift young stepmother and a pile of debt. Fortunately, Wellstone is nothing if not pragmatic and has managed to find a way to acquire some much needed funds; he finds himself self employed as a ladies’ escort, sought after by the wealthy men of the Polite World to squire sisters, daughters and wives to events they themselves would rather not attend. Stony, at all times the perfect gentleman, does well in this endeavor until one of his friends, handling the business overflow, compromises a young deb. With his own reputation in shreds, it’s back to square one for Wellstone, until a note from Miss Ellianne Kane arrives. Miss Kane is beautiful and rich and needs Stony’s services to help solve a very personal mystery.
Coincidently, I like my eggs fried and my heroes flawed. And while I’m not sure how Ellianne takes her eggs, I can tell you that she also appreciates Stony’s shortcomings. Now add in a sense of humor, a sense of honor and a sensuous smile and you have the makings of some very satisfying fare. This book is a fast paced, hilarious romp through Regency London’s drawing rooms, ballrooms and morgues. Yes, I did say morgues. And, no, I’m not going to explain. Suffice it to say that the story line holds an element of the macabre, and as Stony will attest, may not be for those with a weak constitution. But don’t let that aspect deter you from experiencing one of the best Barbara Metzger novels I have read so far.
This one is well done.